Our modern version of Mother’s Day started in the U.S. in the nineteenth century as an act of pacificism. Early in the twentieth century it morphed into a day to honour your own mother. Of course, after it was confirmed as a national date in the calendar in 1914, it was quickly hijacked by business and became all about the greeting cards and the gifts.
I haven’t bought anything for my Mum yet (sorry Mum!) so I thought, as a refreshing excuse, I would bypass the commercialism and go even further back, right back to the ancient roots of Mother’s Day. I’ll celebrate Mother’s Day ancient Greek-style this year.
It turns out that Rhea was the fertility goddess of ancient Greece, the mother of all gods and worshipped as such. She obviously had an excellent PR agent as it doesn’t sound like she did an awful lot of actual mothering at all (quite the original celebrity). She chose a terrible father for her children (Crosus had a nasty habit of swallowing his newborns whole) and when she finally managed to keep a son alive (Zeus), she sent him away to be watched over by others who saw to it that he spent his childhood “dangling on a rope from a tree, suspended between earth, sea, and sky”. Nice one.
Rhea was also reportedly a goddess of comfort and ease (this must be where the fluffy slippers come in), was attended by lions and worshipped by priests with percussion and horns while dancing in mountain forests.
So as far as I can tell, for a truly authentic Mother’s Day experience, Sunday should go something like this:
- Husband roasts up Son #1 and serves him up with potato and gravy to feast upon;
- Son #2 is hung upside down from the tree outside our kitchen window (good strong branches, that one);
- I get a new Jason recliner and fluffy slippers as a present from the neighbours who will dance around me with their large tabby cats while banging on pots and pans.
Hallmark card and roses, anyone?